Economic Trade Corridor

Niagara is a critical hub for trade between Canada and the United States.

The trade that flows across Niagara’s borders totals well over $100 billion and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across Canada and the United States. The network of infrastructure that’s developed over time to support this important trade activity includes five international bridges, multiple railways and the Welland Canal, which links Lake Erie into the St. Lawrence Seaway system.


Niagara is a critical hub for trade between Canada and the United States. The economies of both countries are intrinsically linked by the flow of goods, services and people between the two countries. In addition to the $105.4 billion (CDN) in total freight value that crossed both ways at the borders connecting Niagara, Ontario and New York State in 2015, 78% of the St. Lawrence Seaway’s $34.6 billion in economic activity passes through Niagara on the Welland Canal.

Niagara was designated as Ontario’s first Foreign Trade Zone Point, speaking to the important role it plays both provincially and nationally in the county’s importing and exporting efforts.

Trade Infrastructure

Road. Rail. Sea. Sky. Niagara is home to a robust network of infrastructure that has been strategically developed over decades in response to the region’s growing role as a key North American international trade centre.

Thanks to a network of four major highways that connect directly to the US Interstate highways (QEW, 405, 406 and 420), approximately 2 million transport trucks and 5 million personal vehicles use Niagara’s five international borders each year.

Three railroads running through the region, the Class 1 CN and CP tracks and the short line Trillium Railway, offer another affordable alternative for shipping products on land.

The Welland Canal connects Lake Ontario to Lake Erie and carries 78% of all freight that makes its way through the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System, which connects the Atlantic Ocean to ports in the Midwest US

In addition to the Niagara District Airport, which now offers daily passenger flights between Toronto and Niagara, five international airports in Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara Falls, NY and Buffalo, NY are just a short drive away.

Trade Trends

Looking at the most common goods that flow through Niagara’s borders further illustrates the important role the region plays as a trade corridor supporting both countries’ economies.

Value (CAD) of top 10 commodities traded through Niagara borders, both ways, 2015:

  • Vehicles, parts and accessories: $24.7 billion CDN
  • Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery, appliances and parts: $11.7 billion CDN
  • Mineral fuels, mineral oils, bituminous substances and mineral waxes: $8.3 billion CDN
  • Electrical machinery, equipment and parts: $6.7 billion CDN
  • Plastics: $4.7 billion CDN
  • Pharmaceutical products: $3.7 billion CDN

For more trade data click here.

Digital Infrastructure

As companies increasingly rely on the internet to transport big data and digital services across borders, fast broadband capability and wireless networks are another vital component in regional infrastructure.

Niagara is located on the same fibre optic pipeline that connects Canada’s largest Internet exchange, Toronto Internet Exchange (TorIX), with various major data centres in the United States and abroad. For businesses that specialize in the movement of data, this is a unique advantage that allows for a direct, fast, reliable connection to the North American data centre network.

$100 billion +

in trade flows across Niagara's borders per year

1 in 6

of all truck crossings between the US and Canada go through Niagara’s borders

Ontario’s first designated Foreign Trade Zone Point

4 major highways, 2 Class 1 railroads with border crossings

2 regional airports and 5 international airports

News & Media

Kelly Provost

Economic Development Officer

More About Kelly Provost

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